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What is isilwane?

Isilwane (plural izilwane) is a Zulu term that means animal (plural animals). It is a term used to describes animals that are employed as a means to cause harm, kill and or disturb the course of people’s lives. Animals are often confused with familiars, however the two are not the same. An animal is a naturally occurring species that is captured and using medicines (imithi) and occultic knowledge is transformed into a beast employed for evil deeds. A familiar on the other hand is a man-made (or conjured) spirit. It is a made by witches using witchcraft.

Examples of familiars

There are different types of familiars, the most popular are:

  • Impundulu – is a familiar that are used to cause illnesses and to kill people. They typically appear as dreams when a person is asleep. They are adaptable, they can appear as a fearful human being, monster, or bird.
  • Utikoloshe – is a familiar that looks like a human being of short statue and usually sent to destroy a person’s life.
  • Ichithi – is a familiar that looks like a snake. It is usually used by men to gain wealth.
  • Umamlambo – is a familiar that looks like a snake. It is usually used by women to gain wealth.

Examples of animals

There are different types of animals, the most popular are:

  • Imfene – is a baboon that is captured from the wild. Male witches are known to tame and use this animal. One of its main tasks is transporting the witch.
  • Impaka – is a rodent such as a rat. It is used to send messages of death and misfortune.
  • Isikhova – is an owl that is used as a messenger of bad omens for a family. It usually sits and cries outside the home where it is sent.
  • Intwala– is a pig lice. It is used to make isichitho sezintwala, a medicine and condition that causes severe itching on the hairy parts of the body.

Why are animals and familiars used for?

Different animals and familiars are used to perform different functions. The following outlines some of the general reasons for employing animals and familiars:

  • Financial gains – snakes such as ichithi and umamlambo are used in the practice of ukuthwala to gain wealth and status.
  • For manpower – umkhovu is a man-made familiar that is created for additional manpower.
  • To ruin a person’s life – different types of insects are used to make isichitho to ruin people’s lives.
  • For torment and torture – familiars such as utokoloshe are made to torment and torture a person
  • To make a person go crazy – insects are used to make a person feel as though something is crawling on or under their skin when there is nothing. The aim is to make the person seem and feel crazy.
  • To make a person unattractive or unlikable – familiars are used to make a person smell bad so they are repulsive to other people.
  • To kill a person – familiars such as impundulu are used to cause fatal illnesses and to end a person’s life. 

When an animal or familiar is sent to a person, it is said that the person utetiswe isilwane. When an animal or familiar successfully kills a person, it is said that the person ushayiwe yisilwane. 

Indicators of an animal and familiar

Most of the animals and familiars are created and attached to a person to harm, kill, or disrupt their life. Most people carry an animal or a familiar unknowingly. It is possible for a person to go their whole life without knowing they are a carrier. This usually happens when a person is protected or has a very strong spiritual life.

The following are just some indicators that a person might have an animal or familiar:

  • Addictions (drugs or sex)
  • Dreaming about having coitus or never dreaming
  • Vaginal laxity
  • Quick ejaculation in men
  • Never ending bad luck
  • Habitually fighting with family and friends
  • Depression and anxiety disorder
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Being hated and disliked for no reason
  • Short tempered 
  • Anhedonia
  • Formication 
  • Itchy skin
  • Being unattractive to your partner
  • Miscarriage
  • Cheating
  • Unexplained car accident
  • Acne
  • Forgetfulness

How to get rid of an animal or familiar? 

There are different techniques for removing an animal or familiar that is attached to a person. The technique depends on the type of animal and familiar and healer, for example:

  • Faith healers use exorcism and other paraphernalia. There are different types of healers who use different paraphernalia such woolen ropes, saline water, holy oil, etc. in their healing practice.
  • Inyanga (medicine man/woman) use various types of imithi yemilingo (magical medicines)

To remove an animal and a familiar is very dangerous, the person removing it requires a lot of strength as this is a spiritual fight.

Learn more about isilwane by accessing Imfene – Isilwane mythical animals or familiar animals. | Discover other related concepts, by accessing Isichitho, Formication, and The rise of faith healers.

Safety precaution

The use of traditional medicine in prescribed dosages will yield good results. Misuse and abuse may lead to complications. To learn about correct dosage, consult a traditional healer or a herbalist. You can also visit or email: to learn more about traditional medicine.

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